Planning Your Visit

Cairns’s public transport system is a combination of rail, bus and ferry services operated by the state government. It offers access to all the popular tourist spots and more, and visitors can get around quickly, easily and cheaply and safely, partcularly between the hours of 9am and 5pm, when lower fares apply.

Getting There Getting Around

This website has been designed to make it easy to plan where to go and what to do. However, if you have limited time or prefer to follow set itineraries, we have created a number of half day and full day suggestions. They are laid out on the website in a way that allows you to see at a glance the activities and destinations that are available with each itinerary.

Though Australia is a big country and it takes time to travel from one destination to another, with a little careful planning and some local knowledge, it is easy to fit other destinations into your visit with minimal demands on your budget and time. Our Beyond Cairns section examines some of the more popular destinations, with day trips or longer, and utilising a variety of modes of transport.

Around Cairns Beyond Cairns Rail Passes

Beyond Cairns

Many visitors do not realise that there are hundreds of interesting destinations in other parts of Australia that are easy to reach and relatively inexpensive to travel to from Cairns. For example, by planning wisely and travelling overnight, some destinations can end up costing nothing to visit because you pay for your travel with the money you saved on that night’s accommodation.

Though Australia is a big country and it takes time to travel from one destination to another, with a little careful planning and some local knowledge, it is easy to fit other worthwhile destinations beyond Cairns into your itinerary with little or no extra demands on your budget or time. Alternatively, if you live in Cairns, we look at what each state of Australia has to offer as a holiday destination.

Top Destinations Beyond Cairns

Uniquely Cairns

Shopping shopping in Cairns

Experiences manly ferry

Icons Cairns icons

See and Do
Cairns history and heritage History & Heritage

Historic Homes, Heritage Sites and Museums.

Cairns beaches Beachside

Bay and ocean swimming; beachside suburbs.

parks, gardens, reserves Parks and Gardens

Explore Cairns’s beautiful gardens and reserves.

Cairns national parks Regional Reserves

Discover the natural attractions in the regions surrounding the City of Cairns

Cairns tours Tours

Guided tours and activities in and around Cairns.

Not To Miss

Puffing Billy Tourist Railway

Puffing Billy Tourist Railway

When it comes to an enjoyable day out, the steam-operated Puffing Billy Railway has a been a favourite since it was resurrected as a heritage tourist railway in 1962. This popular attraction operates every day along 24 kilometres of narrow gauge railway line through cool temperate rainforest, lush ferns and towering timbers, semi-urban development and rural farmland. The journey takes an hour in each direction and there are stops along the way where you can take a way, or have a picnic. It starting point is Belgave station, which is on a suburban railway line, so you don’t need a car to get there.

A Day in Ballarat

A Day in Ballarat

Take a 1 hr 20 min train ride through regional victoria to Ballarat, one of the iconic boom towns of ther famous Victorian goldrush of the 1850s. There is lots to do in and around Ballarat to make your trip an overnight one, or to come back a second time. On weekends, when you arrive by train you are greeted by some lovely ladies from the Visitor Information Centre who are armed with whatever info. you need to make vour visit a pleasurable one. There is a free music concert at the Ballarat Art Gallery every Sunday afternoon. Day trip activities: Sovereign Hill historic park; Eureka Centre; Gold Museum; Art Gallery; heritage buildings walk; Lake Wendourie  walks, heritage tram ride, Botanical Gardens.

Yarra Valley

Yarra Valley

The closest wine region to the city of Cairns, the Yarra Valley is Victoria’s oldest wine region, with over 3,600 hectares under vine. It is also Victoria’s most visited wine area, located just one hours drive from Cairns’s CBD. There is far more to the Yarra Valley than just wineries, however, it is equally well known for its art galleries, accommodation, restaurants, cafes, antique stores, markets, woodland nature walks and recreational attractions such as the Healesville Sanctuary, Paintball Skirmish, Ballooning (Global Ballooning and Balloon Sunrise), Hedgend Maze, Marysville Salmon & Trout Ponds, Lavender Farm and Tourist Railway.